Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Office app

Use a screen reader to explore and navigate the Office app

Read out loud symbol with the label Screen reader content. This topic is about using a screen reader with Office

This article is for people with visual impairments who use a screen reader program with the Office products and is part of the Office Accessibility content set. For more general help, see Office Support home.

Use VoiceOver, the built-in iOS screen reader, to navigate around the main views in the Office app. You'll also learn how to switch between views or tabs, and how to navigate to the app settings.

To learn about how the views are organized, go to Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in iOS screen reader, VoiceOver. To learn more about using VoiceOver, visit Apple accessibility.

In this topic

Navigate the main views

When you open the Office app, you land on the Home tab which contains a list of your documents and notes. You can browse, open, and search for documents on the Home tab.

The other main view, the Actions tab, contains options for creating PDFs, converting images to text or tables, and transferring files.

  • To move and browse through the items on the Home and Actions tabs, swipe left or right.

  • To quickly move to the top part of a tab or a view, tap near top of the screen with four fingers.

  • To explore the items on the screen, slide one finger around the screen.

  • To open an item, double-tap the screen when on the item.

Use the navigation bar

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen to switch between the Home tab and the Actions tab, or to create a new document or note.

Switch between tabs

  1. On the Home or Actions tab, to move to the navigation bar, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers.

  2. You hear the currently selected tab. To switch to another tab, swipe left or right until you hear the tab you want, and double-tap the screen.

    For example, to move from the Home tab to the Actions tab, swipe left until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen.

Create a new document or note

  1. To move to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, tap near the bottom of the screen with four fingers.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create button," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "New note button."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To create a new sticky note, double-tap the screen.

    • To create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, swipe right until you hear "New document," and double-tap the screen.

    • To import content using Office Lens, swipe right until you hear "Open camera," and double-tap the screen.

    For detailed instructions on how to create and work with files, refer to Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app.

Navigate to the app settings

In the app settings, you can, for example, review or change the formatting and notification settings, and access the app help.

  1. In the Office app, tap near the top of the screen with four fingers. You hear: "Account profile." Double-tap the screen.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Settings button," and double-tap the screen. The Settings view opens.

  3. To navigate the Settings view, swipe right until you hear the setting you want to change or review, and double-tap the screen.

    Some options open to a new view where you can swipe left or right to navigate. To return to the Settings view, swipe left until you hear "Settings, back button," and double-tap the screen.

  4. To exit the Settings view, swipe left until you hear "Me, back button," and double-tap the screen.

See also

Accessibility in the Office app

Use a screen reader to search in the Office app

Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Office app

Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader

Use TalkBack, the built-in Android screen reader, to navigate around the main views in the Office app. You'll also learn how to switch between views, navigate to the app settings, or quickly access only a certain type of files.

To learn about how the views are organized, go to Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader.

Notes: 

  • New Microsoft 365 features are released gradually to Microsoft 365 subscribers, so your app might not have these features yet. To learn how you can get new features faster, join the Office Insider program.

  • This topic assumes that you are using the built-in Android screen reader, TalkBack. To learn more about using TalkBack, go to Android accessibility.

In this topic

Navigate the main views

When you open the Office app, you land on the Home tab which contains a list of your documents and notes. You can browse, open, and search for documents on the Home tab.

The other main view, the Actions tab, contains options for creating PDFs, converting images to text or tables, and transferring files.

  • To move and browse through the items on the Home and Actions tabs, swipe left or right.

  • To quickly move to the top part of a tab or view, swipe up-then-down with one finger.

  • To explore the items on the screen, slide one finger around the screen.

  • To open an item, double-tap the screen when on the item.

Use the navigation bar

Use the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen to switch between the Home tab and the Actions tab, or to create a new document or note.

Switch between tabs

  1. On the Home or Actions tab, to move to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, swipe down-then-up.

  2. You hear the currently selected tab. To switch to another tab, swipe left or right until you hear the tab you want, and double-tap the screen.

    For example, to move from the Home tab to the Actions tab, swipe left until you hear "Actions," and double-tap the screen.

Create a new document or note

  1. To move to the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen, swipe down-then-up.

  2. Swipe left or right until you hear "Create button," and double-tap the screen. You hear: "New note button."

  3. Do one of the following:

    • To create a new sticky note, double-tap the screen.

    • To create a new Word, Excel, or PowerPoint document, swipe right until you hear "New document," and double-tap the screen.

    • To import content using Office Lens, swipe right until you hear "Open camera," and double-tap the screen.

    For detailed instructions on how to create and work with files, refer to Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app.

Jump to a file list filtered by file type

If you have a lot of items on your Home tab, you can filter the tab contents by file type, and quickly jump to the files of the selected file type, for example, Word or PDF.

  1. On the Home tab, swipe up-then-down. The focus moves to the top of the screen. You hear: "Your profile."

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Filter by file type," and double-tap the screen.

  3. The list of file types opens. Swipe right until you hear the one you want, and double-tap the screen. For example, to display all your PDF files, swipe right until you hear "PDF button," and double-tap the screen.

  4. The list of files of the selected file type opens. To browse the list swipe right. When on a file you want to open, double-tap the screen.

  5. To exit the list and return to the Home tab, swipe down-then-left.

Navigate to the app settings

In the app settings, you can, for example, review or change your file preferences and access the app help.

  1. In the Office app, swipe up-then-down. You hear: "Your profile." Double-tap the screen. The profile view opens.

  2. Swipe right until you hear "Settings," and double-tap the screen. The Settings view opens.

  3. To navigate the Settings view, swipe right until you hear the setting you want to change or review, and double-tap the screen.

    Some options open to a new view where you can swipe left or right to navigate. To return to the Settings view, swipe down-then-left.

  4. To exit the Settings view, swipe down-then-left.

  5. To exit the profile view and return to the Home tab, swipe down-then-left.

See also

Accessibility in the Office app

Use a screen reader to search in the Office app

Use a screen reader to work with files in the Office app

Set up your device to work with accessibility in Office 365

Basic tasks using a screen reader with Office app

Learn the layout of the Office app with a screen reader

Technical support for customers with disabilities

Microsoft wants to provide the best possible experience for all our customers. If you have a disability or questions related to accessibility, please contact the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for technical assistance. The Disability Answer Desk support team is trained in using many popular assistive technologies and can offer assistance in English, Spanish, French, and American Sign Language. Please go to the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk site to find out the contact details for your region.

If you are a government, commercial, or enterprise user, please contact the enterprise Disability Answer Desk.

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